Summary of “How to Break the Outrage Addiction”

Whatever our ideological positions, scrolling through social media or reading the news, we get a delicious tingle of emotion over the latest scandal, the outrage du jour.
You might say that’s OK because outrage about injustices-like sexual harassment and abuse-fuels positive changes and causes us to become less tolerant of dangerous behaviors, as the #MeToo movement has shown.
The psychology of outrage is of increasing interest to academics because it seems to be fueling society and creating “a severity shift.” The more outraged we become and the more we see others upset, the more we feel justified in being angry ourselves, according to University of Chicago legal scholars who studied jury deliberation processes.
Just a cursory glance at the tenor of cultural discussion online and in the media reveals an outsized level of anger, hyperbole, incivility, and tribalism, according to political scientist Jeffrey Berry and sociologist Sarah Sobieraj of Tufts University, authors of The Outrage Industry.
“America has developed a robust and successful Outrage Industry that makes money from calling political figures idiots, or even Nazis,” Berry and Sobieraj write.
Most notably-as observed by a Harvard paper examining academic literature on anger’s effect on judgment-“Once activated, anger can color people’s perceptions, form their decisions, and guide their behavior while they remain angry, regardless of whether the decisions at hand are related to the source of their anger.” Scientific studies show that anger makes people indiscriminately punitive, careless thinkers, and eager to take action.
On the contrary, keeping a cool distance from the daily events that fuel your social group’s outrage makes you more capable of contending with reality and making decisions that might improve the direction or rhetorical tenor of events in the grand scheme.
Outrage won’t serve you or society unless it’s fueled wisely.

The orginal article.